The Nocturnal Reader’s Box – February Unboxing

My First Nocturnal Reader’s Box

 

So one of the reasons I tend to stick with just one subscription box is the issue of getting duplicates. I’ve been burned by Uppercase and a lot of the other YA boxes tend to have similar books as well. Because I’m so loyal to Owlcrate, I’d end up with duplicates even if another box had the same book in another month or something. It’s just too much to keep track of and waste money on.

I saw an ad on Instagram for The Nocturnal Reader’s Box and realized it just might solve my problem.

The box contains adult, not YA books

It contains 2 books: a brand new release and a new copy of an older book.

The box is for those who enjoy Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Psychological Thrillers, which is right up my alley, especially for adult books. (I don’t want a box full of literary bricks or chick lit, even though I DO read them from time to time, I don’t need 2 books per month of that kind of thing. I will devour most things fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and thriller so.. this is just perfect!)

The other great thing is that it ships around the 1st, while my Owlcrate ships closer to the middle to end of each month. I like the alternating ship dates so I have something to look forward to all month!

(Can I also mention that it’s affordable, too? The adult book boxes that I see are in the $40s and up and, while they do seem cool, I just don’t want to fork out money like that each month for unknown items. I mean, some boxes let you choose books, but I don’t get the same satisfaction from knowing what’s coming, so this box really seems to solve all of my problems!)

Basically, this box sounded like all things ME. 

And it is!

 

For details about the box, check out their website!

 

The February Theme was Paranoia.

 

So

What

Was

in

The

Box?

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Under a Watchful Eye by Adam Nevill UK Edition
  • American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  • A paranoia journal with the quote “Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then.” By Philip K. Dick
  • A Silence of the Lambs decorative box
  • Don’t Follow Me sunglasses
  • An American Psycho pin that says “I have to return some videotapes.” Pinned to a Patrick Bateman business card
  • A paranoia bookmark
  • An amazing paranoia art print
 

I think it might have been around $30 or so and I feel like I definitely got that much stuff. I loved everything, even though I actually (don’t hurt me, book nerds!) prefer the American Psycho MOVIE to the book. It’s still cool to have a copy on my shelf.

 

I just wanted to try the box out, but March’s theme is Lost in the Woods, so I’m in for another month. I hope it’s as good as this month because it means I found something I can continue to subscribe to each month!  

Review – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere

By Neil Gaiman

SummaryUnder the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: neverwhere.

Source: I purchased a paperback ages ago and finally picked it up.

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Review:

Neverwhere was Gaiman’s first solo novel, an urban fantasy taking place in an alternate London, underground, called London Below. Richard was ordinary, average, and kind of doormat. Until, for some reason, he decided he had to take action and help a wounded girl on the street while being berated by his controlling fiancé. His decision led him on a wild adventure underground once his life above was stripped from him, rendering the already slightly invisible Richard, totally invisible. 

I really enjoyed Neverwhere. It was such a fun adventure, dark in all the right places, full of darkness, puzzles, and intrigue. The villains were oh-so-perfectly villainous and it was an overall awesome fantasy adventure. There were twists and turns in the plot, betrayals and deaths, and Richard discovered he was a heck of a lot braver and more capable than he’d every imagined. 

In a lot of ways, Neverwhere read like a middle grade or young adult novel, because it deals with coming into yourself and discovering who you can truly be, but it’s even better because it’s a tad dark and Richard is older and I think adults sometimes need a good kick in a butt to realize we are just living in a routine. It was simple to read, but it was complex in just the right ways. I think it’s perfect for adults who love urban fantasy and somewhat dark, Tim Burton-like stuff. There is a ton of coming of age fantasy for kids and young adults and I love that this one features an older, but just as out of place protagonist finding his own Narnia wardrobe of sorts. 

It’s safe to say I am definitely a Gaiman fan. I can’t wait to dive into more of his books. I still think American Gods is the best, but this is a great book and one that helps bridge the gap from Coraline or The Graveyard Book, which involve child protagonists, and American Gods, which is wholly adult. 

Star 4

Feature and Follow Friday – Reread

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Feature and Follow Friday

Hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

This week’s prompt:

What book do you reread the most? (For people who don’t reread, what books have you considered rereading?)

 

Most of the time, I only reread books in a series when the next or final book releases just to refresh. I typically do not reread for pleasure. 

However, I have reread the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi a few times even after the final book was out. I loved the series and sometimes I just crave the way it makes me feel. It’s written in such a unique way and it invokes so much emotion in me that few books do in quite the same way. So when I’m having that craving, sometimes rereading the series is the best way to handle it. 

 

 

What book do you reread often?

Review – Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

 

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

By E.K. Johnston

SummaryVeronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine. 

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale

Source: I purchased a hardcover

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Review:

I’ve been wanting to read Exit, Pursued by a Bear for some time and I finally bought it over the holidays and decided to read it shortly afterwards. 

The book is a YA contemporary involving rape, which I knew going in and caution anyone else about so they can decide if that’s a subject they prefer to read about. I didn’t have any real expectations, though I have to admit I did expect a somewhat dramatic novel due to the subject matter.

Surprisingly, the book was not the dark and turbulent novel I was expecting. Though Hermione did have to deal with being drugged, raped, and the aftermath, the book wasn’t focused so much on the darkness of the subject, but rather the support she received through her friends, family, and even her cheerleading team. Hermione was fortunate in many ways to have a support system and it changed how her story of survival went. Results aren’t typical for many people, but I was grateful for the unique perspective. She did not want to be a victim, a cautionary tale, or anyone’s object of pity, and she did whatever she could, with the help of her support system to maintain her normal life and recover.

There are a few negative reviews, admittedly among a sea of very positive ones, that mention how unrealistic the book is and how Hermione’s situation is an insult to real victims. I think there are hoards of rape stories from many perspectives and many, if not most, have fairly dark and awful truths, a lot of struggling and depression and blame going around. A lot of people don’t have support systems and most works of fiction involving the subject matter reflect that. They have to fight tooth and nail against legal systems, families, friends, social groups/towns, even religious groups, to be believed and heard and may not ever get any closure. It may ruin their lives in more ways than one and they remain victims of more than just the rape at that point. But one person’s experience (even MOST people’s experiences) does not negate the experiences of others. Hermione’s tale may not be typical, but it doesn’t make her story any less relevant or realistic. People with wonderful lives, friends, families, etc still get raped and have to live their lives after that. They have to deal with the situation, make tough decisions, and move on in whatever way works for them, through trial and error, with or without breakdowns. In fact, Hermione even mentioned to her therapist that she felt like something was wrong with her because she didn’t feel anything because she didn’t remember. I feel that Hermione’s determination to not be victimized by the situation was an attitude I admired, even though I realize it’s not that simple for most rape victims.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a story about a teen girl who was drugged and raped at a cheerleading camp and the events afterwards. She had a wonderful support system. No one really doubted her, the legal system did what they could to pursue the case. But even still, she had some tough and awful moments. She faced a decision about whether she’d have to terminate a pregnancy as a result. She lost time due to being drugged and struggled with waking up in the morning because she didn’t know where she was. She couldn’t remember the event, which halted her ability to really “deal” with the events because she had nothing to relive, no emotions to work through, until pieces of her memory were recovered after being triggered by certain smells, sounds, etc. Her lack of emotion regarding her own circumstances concerned her, since it felt like it had happened to someone else. In a small town, she also had to do her best to avoid being the tragic case for everyone to remember. She wanted to remain herself and hold onto the wonderful life she knew she had. But her support system made all of these things a million times easier than they are for many people and her friendships strengthened her. 

I’d recommend this book. I recommend reading it for various reasons. As a person who has not experienced what Hermione has, it was helpful because I was able to see how much a support system matters and how not to treat victims, how to be sensitive without pitying, how to be compassionate without making the victim feel fragile, how to be a friend to someone who has had this terrible thing happen to them and be a good one. The book even talked about slut shaming, victim blaming, and the way society still places a portion of the blame on the victim by asking questions like, “what could you have done to prevent it” without even realizing how screwed up that mentality is. I don’t think all stories involving rape need to be focused on being a victim. I thought this book was refreshing because, in an ideal circumstance, despite the awfulness of the situation, Hermione could overcome the events that might have otherwise further impacted her life. It’s not always simple to decide not to be a victim, but her attitude and her support system allowed her to do so. Still, if you feel that it’s a negative thing to have a character not be defined by her situation or if you feel it’s unfair to showcase a victim’s perspective when they had it relatively easy, then this is NOT the book for you. For others, including myself, it’s a refreshing point of view.

Side note: Hermione does release a breath she did not realize she was holding. *That phrase does not bother me, but if you’re already on the fence about the book, you might not like the writing. 

Star 4

Top Ten Tuesday – More

 toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Five Books I Wish Had More Closure

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A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. This one is obvious since the final books have not yet been released and most fans have been waiting literally decades. I just want to know how it ends. Please.

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The Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi. I mean, there was plenty of closure, I just hate that it’s over. I’d love a Kenji spinoff or something.

The Long Walk by Richard Bachman/Stephen King. I loved that it ended the way it did, but I DO wish there was more an explanation for why the walk happens and what the winners actually win…

The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver. I loved the way it ended because I do love ambitious endings, but I can’t help but want more of an ending.

The Giver by Lois Lowry. Did they make it?

 

 

 

Review – NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

 

NOS4A2

By Joe Hill

SummaryNOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

NOS4A2 was completely insane, twisted, and engrossing. 

It was the tale of Charles Manx, a man who kidnapped children in his Rolls Royce and took them to Christmasland where they would never die. It was the story of Vic, The Brat, McQueen, who had a magic bridge that took her places she needed to go. Every talent had its price. The book took place over the course of Vic’s life for the most part. She was the only child who ever escaped Manx, but when her own son was kidnapped, she knew she needed to find a way to use her talent again.

While part of me was blown away by the sheer uniqueness of the idea presented and the awesome way it was horrifying and twisted and completely messed up, part of me was a little uncomfortable because this really felt like a Stephen King approach to a novel and I’m disappointed by it. I think Hill did his own thing in Heart Shaped Box, but the span of time, the reflection on childhood, the classic car, the creepy old dude, and even the twisted Christmas theme just feels SO Stephen King! Scenes and quotes took me back to a King novel and, while I appreciate the style, I think it’s important that Hill stays in his own style. However unfair it is, he of all people has a tough act to follow when it comes to writing horror.

Despite the fact that I’m a little disappointed that the voice/writing seemed a little too close to his dad’s style, I can’t help but be impressed. I was sucked in through all 600+ pages and that counts for something. It was creepy and captivating and I’m eager to see what else Hill has up his sleeve. It’s clear he’s as imaginative and well versed as his dad, though I really do hate to compare the two. 

I loved Manx’s character and the way that nothing turned out well for people. I love that there were consequences to the talents and that the characters messed up many times. It made it all feel a little real despite the obviously out of this world plot. 

I definitely recommend NOS4A2. It was creepy. Just.. don’t read it before/during Christmas. Or you’ll be terrified of your tree. Or.. read it DURING Christmas if you’re hard to scare. Lol.

Star 4

 

Feature and Follow Friday – Groundhog Day

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Feature and Follow Friday

Hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

This Week’s Prompt:

Groundhog Day! What book or scene from a book could you live in and have it on “repeat?”

I don’t really do much rereading, so this question is kind of tough for me!

I suppose I’d have to go with the Harry Potter series because it contains adventure, magic, humor, and drama in such a great way. It’s not static, there’s multiple layers, and tons of characters and moments. It starts as middle grade and grows, so it’s never the same thing in each book. I feel like it’s made a mark on society for multiple age groups. It might be just different enough to not grow old if it’s the only book series I’d ever get to read.

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What series/book/scene would you “relive” over and over again?